We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Special Shoes"

Lately, I've been thinking more about my parents' influence on my life story. And for their sacrifices for me over fifty-some years. The words "thank you" seem so inadequate at a time like this . . .

Yet, as inadequate as they appear, I want to express my appreciation to them, perhaps one memory at a time . . .
My mom has recently slipped under the umbrella of hospice. I drive up the hill to see her and my dad often these days. As I climb the familiar stairs and crack open the door, my hustle-bustle life slows to a quieter pace. I tip-toe over the mauve carpet to give a gentle hug to Mom's waning frame and predictable smile. My dad and I make up the beds, fold laundry, or finish up the dishes. Then the three of us sit and chat. I treasure every minute.

Today I'm thinking of their sacrifice as brand new parents. Their first baby girl, born with feet that turned in, needed corrective shoes, another expense to an already tight budget . . .
Special Shoes
Tossed on an attic shelf
Among unknown volumes and forgotten boxes
Lay, what my mother always called, "special shoes."
Tiny and toeless,
Scuffed and worn,
Shaped like the antennas of an insect.

Chubby baby feet,
Turned in and clubbed
Lovingly buckled in
All day and all night,
In the long hot summer.

I look down to see
Those same feet grown,
Straight and free.

They kept those shoes for years and passed them on to me. A love token to remember. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for taking care of me in this small yet significant way. Because of your sacrifice, I have pleasant memories of running, of hiking, of climbing all those steps inside the Statue of Liberty. Remember the miles we walked while touring Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.? Together we reminisce. Special shoes . . . special times . . . 
When it's time to go, I squeeze them both once more and softly close the door behind me . . .  down the familiar stairs, down the hill to the busy traffic below. Sometimes tears flow down my cheeks all the way home. I feel blessed.

Can we ever adequately thank those who have cared for us and made a difference in our life stories? Probably not. But perhaps we can appreciate them one memory at a time.